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Climate Actions

A new LCA draft text has just appeared. It should lay ground for the final resulting document of the conference. Russia received the Fossil of the Day for the willing to save up its emissions quotas for the future but for being against Kyoto2 at the same time.

In the end of the first week of UN climate talks according to the request of the RSEU climate secretariat the coordinator of Russian official delegation Oleg Shamanov met Russian NGO observers working at COP17 (Russian Socio-Ecological Union, Friends of the Baltic, Ecodefence, Ural Ecounion).

NGOs cannot stay at the conference venues after 10 pm and there is a proposal to keep NGOs away from SBI meetings. Thawing of permafrost was highlighted by South African press while no reaction from Russia on this issue. Poland lobbies coal while misusing its EU Presidency status. African countries may not receive most of the proposed funding to fight climate change.

The third day of COP17 did not bring forth any progress in the negotiations. During the discussion of Kyoto mechanisms Oleg Shamanov, Russia’s representative, said that JI project provide a great stimulus for emissions reduction measures and have to remain in operation after 2012, but failed to mention anything about the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. At an evening side event Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine presented their respective situations with emissions trends, but said nothing about their future intentions in this field for the current negotiations.

The international climate negotiations will start next week in Durban, South Africa, These negotiations promise to be “hot: the only one year remains to the end of the 1st period of Kyoto Protocol. NGOs expect countries constructive attitude to approve 2nd period of Kyoto Protocol and do everything possible for preparation of new international legally binding agreement. Belarus, Russia and Ukraine NGOs have made a Statement to Durban.

Russia is one of the carbon-intensive countries in the world, said the British Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO). However, analysts cannot confirm this with figures, because Russian companies are in the end of carbon reporting lists. Introduction of international low-carbon standards should be part of climate policy of Russia, and transparency in corporate carbon accounting should be encouraged by governmental mechanisms. Unfortunately, so far Russia has no such plans.

The inclusion of forestry projects in Kyoto mechanisms remains a matter of dispute. For Russia this would be one of the least costly, thus very promising ways. Although many NGOs are cautious about the inclusion of forests in climate policy mechanisms, especially as far as methods of emissions volume estimation, the accuracy of carbon sequestration accounting and the threat of monoculture plantations to ecosystems are concerned.

20 of July in New-York Russia together with China opposed a Statement of the UN Security Council (http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10332.doc.htm) on the security threat of climate change. Russian representative V.Churkin also said that Russia will move to low-carbon economy with attention to nuclear energy.
This confusing position in the concurrent SC debate shed a light on the lack of a clear line on the climate issue in the Russian Government, and nuclear energy threatens the global security,

Emission permits issued by the UN for Russia to boost measures on limitation of climate change can become an occasion for rich countries to abandon considerable reduction in their own emissions. Representatives of non-governmental organizations display negative attitude to such developments, as Russia is one of the largest CO2 emitters, and it imposes a special responsibility in the climate process on our country.

At the UN climate negotiations Russia is still taking a stand against the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) after 2012. The opportunities granted by the first commitment period are largely missed by Russia, since only 32 projects have been approved and many investors have left the country. The President has called for the maximum use of KP mechanisms in the remaining 18 months. Russia’s participation in the second period is very important in order to unite global action for climate change mitigation. But even without the KP Russia’s national interests and priorities in international affairs will lead the country to the obvious need to reduce our emissions as an integral part of modernization aimed at increasing energy efficiency of the country’s economy.

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